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Safety program to start at Senior Center

The Senior Center of Boulder City is rolling out a new program to help local seniors stay safe inside their homes.

Executive Director Ann Barron said the program is called “Home Safety, Modification and Repair Services.” It will allow Boulder City’s senior citizens to call the Senior Center for home safety repairs free of charge.

“It’s helping them to be safer in their own home,” Barron said.

Once a senior calls for maintenance, program coordinator Bill DiTrapani will show up and perform a safety checklist to make sure that living conditions are up to standard.

DiTrapani will check heating units, air conditioners, refrigerators and possible tripping hazards.

DiTrapani, who’s lived in Boulder City since 1973 and spent 30 years in safety training, including a stint with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, will monitor every procedure to make sure the program is as effective as possible.

He said the hardest part will be gaining the seniors’ trust to allow he and the contractors into their homes. Part of his job will be to meet with the Boulder City Police and Fire departments, as well as other agencies around town so they know to call him if they visit a senior in need of home safety repair.

“We want to make them aware of the program so they feel comfortable with us,” he said. “Acceptance of us coming into the home is going to be the biggest challenge.”

Barron said DiTrapani will have a name badge with his picture on it when he comes to their houses for service.

“First, we want you to make sure it’s Bill. The last thing I want to do is encourage somebody to open their door for somebody they don’t know,” Barron said.

After his inspection is complete, DiTrapani will touch base with a licensed contractor to fix the repairs needed. He said he plans on meeting with the city’s business license department to look at the local contractors.

Barron said they’ll prioritize calls based upon need.

“If you call today and your air conditioner is out, we’re going to be out there today,” she said.

DiTrapani will be on hand when the contractor comes to the home and will conduct a follow-up inspection 30 days later to ensure that everything is working properly.

Barron, who took over as executive director in January, said other agencies throughout Southern Nevada offer similar programs, though none have ever been offered in Boulder City.

The Senior Center of Boulder City was able to fund the new program through a $27,000 grant from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. Barron said she’s hopeful that the funding will last through June.

“There’s a need for this here. I talked to the board, and they agreed,” she said. “This is going to benefit seniors that need these services.”

The program is open to Boulder City residents 60 or older. Barron said she’s already had people inquire about safety repairs for their homes since hearing about the program.

DiTrapani said the program will be ready to go in about two weeks.

For more information, call the Senior Center of Boulder City at 702-293-3320.

Contact reporter Steven Slivka at sslivka@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow @StevenSlivka on Twitter.

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